The purpose of life

A reflection

Just a little something to make you reflect a bit in these days after New Year, when all intentions are fresh and new and never to be broken.

What if the real purpose of your life is not to fulfill your destiny but rather to discover it first, then develop yourself to meet that challenge as best as you can?

What if there is no purpose?

Christmas and New Year often lead to very deep and meaningful conversations with some of the people you care for, love and live with. Not that we’re not having relevant conversations at other moments, but this period invites deep reflection. In a discussion with a friend on “finding your purpose in life” I started thinking about the idea that there may not be a purpose in your life. More accurately, there may not be a meaning unless you infuse your life with it.

Assuming there is a purpose out there waiting for you is rather predeterministic to me. It goes counter to the idea that we sail our own ship, we determine our own fates. And I think we do. Our right to self-determination is central to who we are as people. Our need to find the freedom to be able to make our own mistakes is central to our democratic systems. And even in less democratic systems, you keep finding people that engage in that fight. Often against overwhelming odds.

Our right is our freedom to explore and discover

So perhaps it is not really about the purpose, but about the freedom to find that purpose. Perhaps it is really a lot more about the journey than about getting there. Perhaps it is not about the reward at all. Perhaps the reward is the ability to undertake that journey.

If it gets too philosophical for you, be aware there is a hard, tangible reality underlying all this. And that reality is very simple: the less focused you are on finding a purpose, the less likely it is you are willing to make the effort to undertake the journey.

What happens around you now, that’s your life

There are a lot of very practical tools out there that can help you in getting focused. Perhaps you don’t know where you are going, but you will be able to get going. And you need to realize that around you, few people are willing to make that investment. There are more and more people realizing the fun is in the journey, but we are by far outnumbered by the people sitting around waiting for life to happen to them.

A challenge

So my question to you, let’s perhaps even call it a challenge, is very simple. Are you ready and willing to take a first step on a journey to discovery of what you can be all about, or are you going to sit around waiting for life to happen to you? Are you willing to make the investment even if there is no failed purpose to begin with? If you don’t get up, you will not have failed. You haven’t even come close to being able to fail, because you never tried anything or gotten anywhere.

Yes, imagine there is no specific goal but rather an opportunity to develop our capabilities to pursue certain worthwhile goals. Consider that ability a gift this year. And commit to try and use that gift to the maximum extent possible.